Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress

Solstice – Back Into the Light

14 Comments

You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” J.R.R.Tolkien

As the longest night of the year stretched out before me several nights ago, I thought about how just six months ago, less than two weeks after the summer solstice, my father passed away. After a long, devastating decline from Alzeimer’s disease he was suddenly at death’s door. There had been numerous close calls over the years so I didn’t immediately get on a plane to go see him until his death looked imminent. As I waited to board my plane in Victoria that morning, I got the call that he had died in the night.

The wall of grief that hit me was surprising in its intensity. My father had been in an advanced vegetative state for a very long time and I thought I had said my goodbyes to him. I knew his eventual passing would be a bittersweet one, but the bitter far outweighed the sweet. I was happy that his spirit would no longer be trapped in his ailing body but I resented all those wasted years after he took ill and, as I sat on the plane heading eastward, I wondered about the years before. Had he lived a happy, fulfilled life? Had he felt loved? Had he said all the things he wanted to say, done the things he wanted to do? I didn’t have the answers to these questions for my father had been a guarded, taciturn man whom I never really understood. And when he died I found myself mourning for the father I never knew and the relationship we didn’t have.

 The artwork below, completed a week ago, is titled Ashes To Ashes and is dedicated to my father. The poem in it reads:

 And I’m left to mourn

You who left so long ago

Ashes to ashes

Ashes To Ashes

One thing I did know was that this controlling, fearful figure from my childhood had matured into a gentler man, one, I realized in my adulthood, who cared for me in his reserved way. And in his passing he gave me an unexpected gift.

 His death and the awful waste of the last years of his life made me examine my own. As I looked in my own mirror I determined not to waste the remainder of my life with inaction and indecision. I would take the steps I needed to take to bring peace and purpose back into my life.

 I took those steps and found myself by the end of the year living completely on my own for the very first time in my life. My marriage was ended, my last child at home had decided to strike out on her own, my in-laws left to start anew in their old town back east, even our dog decided it was time to head for new pastures. Seeing the light go out of his eyes made me grateful for having missed seeing my father die.

 So the year is ending with a loss and re-ordering of relationships. They are hard to bear but easier than the indecision that weighed down my spirit. The peace and purpose I’d hoped for still seem far away though they tickle my feet like waves along the shore. Perhaps I need to step further into the sea.

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Author: chiaink

World travelled yet never weary, eloquent and evocative, Chiarina's artworks sing with a sensitive and sensuous spirit.

14 thoughts on “Solstice – Back Into the Light

  1. your words inspire me , they fill me with hope and desire, they leave me with broken emotions and a deafening silence. i wrote this for you…

    nightime neighbours
    quicker that breath
    and nearly noticeable notes in songs
    sung with simple sorrow
    exchanging dreams
    for now
    splitscreen sweet people
    closer than quiet
    and waterweeds of ponds at dawn
    hung with morning music
    splashing light on scenes
    of now

    michael

  2. Dear Chiarina,

    How beautiful and honest and moving…………….. both the artwork and your words.

    For me it’s over 10 years now when my father past away. I can give you every little detail from this period in words, pictures from my mind, emotions, linked to this specific period as he, like your father, was very ill.

    I than realised that loosing your father is something BIG, something I had to experience before I understood. Other than I understand from your story, I was very close with my father, which also influenced me as a person in good ways and lesser ways.

    I wonder what all this loss means for you, does it bring you back to your authentic Self? Does it clench your Soul?
    It reminds me of the losses in my life and with that the comforting Khalil Gibran, who never fails to shine light on darker moments, my shadows: Clay will never transform into a beautiful item without baking in an oven! Love from Holland!

    • Karin, we haven’t met yet but I feel like we can become great friends. Thank you for all your kind and supportive words. Yes, losing a parent is BIG and only understood when it happens, and every parent/child relationship is unique for good and bad.
      I’m still trying to make sense of these losses, trying to find the good in the changes. What’s so ironic is that it’s probably my soon to be ex-husband who probably understands most what they mean to me.
      I too love and find comfort in the words of Khalil Gibran. These are especially resonant here:
      “Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.”
      “And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
      Love from Canada 🙂

  3. My dear friend and gentle heart…….

    It’s time of big changes for you. You are enduring so much and becoming so strong as a result. Nobody really knows what it feels like to lose someone until it happens. Everyone deals with death so differently, some immediately, some later but it has to be dealt with no matter what and when the acceptance happens the spirit takes over and lives through you. Your creativity and love of life came from your Dad and you are carrying it on for not only you but for him. He would love you for that….believe me, I am living this myself.

    Guess what? I’m actually very excited for you and your new found life! I know that you will make it so full and so different, like the 20 something you never had. It’s yours to play with now and with your determination it’s going to be fabulous!!!! Can I come along?

    Love from your best bud! Jane

    • Jane, you’re already along and cheering me on as I go and I love you for it! Here’s to new adventures and new discoveries while we carry all our loved ones, past and present, in our pocketses!
      Big, big hugs,
      Chi

  4. The courage you’ve demonstrated these last few months and the unconditional support you’ve given me over the last few years when I was dealing with my own losses is just amazing and inspiring, my dear. I’m glad to count you as my friend as well as my sister.

    • Your love and support mean more than I can say. We journey together in life even when we’re far apart.
      Big, big hugs to you, Fifi! and can’t wait to hug and kiss that little man of yours!
      xoxo

  5. Chiarina, I understand your feelings on the loss of your father as I had a similar experience with my mother. So many things left unsaid, questions not asked. They mentally slip away from you before you realize, and it makes it so much harder being so far away. From your pain and sadness, your work has blossomed and become richer and more meaningful. You have a wonderful talent, and the ability to use it, so draw on your past but don’t look back. Onward and upward!

  6. Chiarina- my own loss is still raw and your art and expressions are very soothing- thankyou for sharing. I would love to see your art, not sure yet if I can make it to the opening. You are in the flow Chi, your show will be amazing!

    Seeking the light,

    Jennifer

    • Thank you, Jennifer, it seems that the one good thing that comes from loss is how it brings people together, thereby helping to ease the pain of it. I hope you can get out to see the show even you miss the opening. It’s on for a month and I would love your feedback.
      Wishing you a light filled new year!
      Chi

  7. Pingback: Photo Fridays – Remembering My Dad | Chiarina Loggia

  8. Pingback: Winter Solstice – Lighting the Way | Chiarina Loggia

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